'Job hunting will be hard for 2014 grads'
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2014 - 5:40pm

MANILA, Philippines - Landing a job will be difficult for new graduates this year due to structural problems in government policies and Philippine society, a former government official said.

“As every knowledgeable argues, the problem of job creation is very complex. It goes back to government economic and social policies which only increase the gross domestic product but does not create jobs.  It goes back to government regulations which block creativity and innovation in business and government," said Leonor Briones, former national treasurer and lead convenor of participatory budgeting and public finance transparency group Social Watch Philippines.

Briones said the unemployment problem goes back to the educational system, the kind of courses and the quality of training for students. Chronic poverty also pushes desperate parents and students to opt for substandard schools, she said.

According to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, about 700,000 graduates will join the 39.6-million workforce this year. Adding up the figure to the current 2.96 million unemployed, about 3.66 million will be jobless and looking for jobs this year. About 200,000 of the unemployed will seek jobs abroad and around 7 million are underemployed and seeking full-time jobs.

Briones about 23-25 percent of those employed are in the formal sector, while 75-77 percent are in the informal sector where they are unprotected by laws on security of tenure, decent salaries and other benefits. 

“The employment situation in the Philippines is bleak. A lot of the graduates this year may land jobs in the informal sector, or they might go abroad to work where most jobs are for low-skill workers, like domestic house help, drivers and utility workers. As we all know, working abroad carries tremendous social costs,” she said.

She added that other barriers for employment include costs of licensure examinations, with the fees and review classes being too costly.

Briones said graduates of courses that are high in demand and those who come from top universities will have an easier time landing jobs, since many companies seek them. However, they could only absorb a small portion in the huge inventory of unemployed and underemployed.

ABROAD BRIONES GOVERNMENT GRADUATES JOBS LEONOR BRIONES MILLION SOCIAL WATCH PHILIPPINES TRADE UNION CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES YEAR
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